United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
TIMOTHY R. RAPP
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR UNITED STATES
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court are defendant Ryan Zinke in his capacity as
Secretary of the Department of Interior's motion for
summary judgment on wage-garnishment claim (Rec. Doc. 26),
pro se plaintiff Timothy Rapp's response in
opposition (Rec. Doc. 27), defendant's reply (Rec. Doc.
30), plaintiff's motion to extend deadlines for discovery
and other case related court activities (Rec. Doc. 37), and
plaintiff's motion to compel discovery (Rec. Doc. 38).
For the reasons discussed below, IT IS
ORDERED that the motion for summary judgment is
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the motion to extend
deadlines for discovery and other case related court
activities is DENIED.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the motion to compel is
DENIED. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
an employment discrimination case involving discriminatory
discharge and discriminatory wage-garnishment. The Court
previously ruled on plaintiff's discriminatory discharge
claim, dismissing it as time barred. See Rec. Doc.
33. The instant motion for summary judgment concerns
plaintiff's discriminatory wage-garnishment claim.
See Rec. Doc. 26 at 1.
is a former employee of the Department of the Interior
(“DOI”). See id. He worked as a
petroleum engineer in the Bureau of Safety and Environmental
Enforcement (“BSEE”). See Rec. Doc. 16-3
to starting employment with DOI, on October 18, 2013,
plaintiff signed a relocation agreement stating that if
plaintiff failed to remain in federal government service for
a period of 12 months following the effective date of his
transfer, unless separated for reasons beyond his control and
acceptable by the DOI/BSEE, then his relocation expenses
shall be recoverable as a debt to the United States.
See Rec. Doc. 26-3 at 2. His employment with the DOI
lasted from December 1, 2013 until November 4, 2014. See
id. According to defendant, plaintiff's termination
notice cited two instances of plaintiff's inappropriate
workplace communications with co-workers. See id.
Plaintiff states that one of the two instances never happened
and is completely fraudulent. See Rec. Doc. 27-1 at
plaintiff's exit clearance, DOI/BSEE noted
plaintiff's failure to remain in federal employment for
at least 12 months triggered a discrepancy in his agreement
as well as a claim for recoupment of his relocation expenses.
See Rec. Doc. 26-3 at 2. DOI/BSEE processed the
claim for recoupment against plaintiff. See id.
Plaintiff filed an objection. See id. DOI/BSEE
sustained the collection action. See id. The
recoupment debt was referred to the U.S. Department of
Treasury, who enforced the debt through a garnishment of
plaintiff's wages. See id. at 3.
February 23, 2018, plaintiff filed an amended complaint
alleging that DOI terminated him and recouped its relocation
payments because of plaintiff's non-Cajun national
origin. See Rec. Doc. 3. Plaintiff seeks, inter
alia, monetary damages in the amount of $10, 399,
133.00. See Rec. Doc. 3-2 at 1-3.
Summary Judgment Standard
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment is
appropriate when “the pleadings, depositions, answers
to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)). See also TIG Ins. Co. v. Sedgwick James
of Wash., 276 F.3d 754, 759 (5th Cir. 2002). A genuine
issue of material fact exists if the evidence would allow a
reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). The court should view all facts and evidence in the
light most favorable to the non- moving party. United
Fire & Cas. Co. v. Hixson Bros. Inc., 453 F.3d 283,
285 (5th Cir. 2006). “Only disputes over facts that
might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law
will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Mere conclusory
allegations are insufficient to defeat summary judgment.
Eason v. Thaler, 73 F.3d 1322, 1325 (5th Cir. 1996).
movant must point to “portions of ‘the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. If and when
the movant carries this burden, the non-movant must then go
beyond the pleadings and present other evidence to establish
a genuine issue. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). However,
“where the non-movant bears the burden of proof at
trial, the movant may merely point to an absence of evidence,
thus shifting to the non-movant the burden of demonstrating
by competent summary judgment proof that there is an issue of
material fact warranting trial.” Lindsey v. Sears
Roebuck & Co., 16 F.3d 616, 618 (5th Cir. 1994).
“This court will not assume in the absence of any proof
that the nonmoving party could or would prove the necessary
facts, and will grant summary judgment in any case where
critical evidence is so weak or tenuous on an essential fact
that it could not support a judgment in favor of the
[non-movant].” McCarty v. Hillstone Rest.
Grp., 864 F.3d 354, 357 (5th Cir. 2017).
Instant Motion for ...